|U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry|
U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry is ordering a study of the U.S. electric grid, with an eye to examining whether policies that favor wind and solar energy are accelerating the retirement of coal and nuclear plants critical to ensuring steady, reliable power supplies.
The 60-day review, which Perry set in motion Friday, comes as regulators increasingly wonder how to balance electric reliability with a raft of state policies that prioritize less stable renewable energy sources.
In an April 14 memo obtained by Bloomberg News, Perry highlights concerns about the “erosion” of resources providing “baseload power” -- consistent, reliable electricity generated even when the sun isn’t shining and the winds aren’t blowing.
“We are blessed as a nation to have an abundance of domestic energy resources, such as coal, natural gas, nuclear and hydroelectric, all of which provide affordable baseload power and contribute to a stable, reliable and resilient grid,” Perry wrote in the memo to his chief of staff. But in recent years, grid experts have “highlighted the diminishing diversity of our nation’s electric generation mix and what that could mean for baseload power and grid resilience.”